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Our Notary Precautions and Guidelines During COVID 19 Coronavirus

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We are now conducting “Porch Signings” or “Window-Separated Signings” and “Curbside Closings”

Mobile Notaries and signers are concerned about possible contact with the COVID-19 coronavirus when meeting face to face during loan signings and notarizations. In response, some of our notaries are signing using a process called “window-separated signing” or “porch signing”, in which loan signings are conducted through a window or doorway at a safe physical distance or “curbside closings” where we arrive to perform a real estate closing outside of the home, keeping a safe, 6 foot distance.

This allows us to perform signings in a way that protects the health of all involved and ensures that any notarial acts performed comply with South Carolina state laws.

The National Notary Association (NNA) recommends that Notaries should follow these minimum guidelines when perform “window-separated signings”:

  • The Notary and signer must be able to communicate with each other by sight and sound through the window and by normal means. Cell phones, FaceTime, Skype or other electronic communication tools must not be used for a “window-separated signing.”
  • The Notary must follow all federal, state and local guidelines for social distancing, health protection and sanitization when meeting with signers and handling documents, IDs or other materials. When items are passed between the signer and Notary, one person should place the item in a neutral area and then step back and provide safe distance to allow the other person to pick it up.
  • The signer must give their actual ID to the Notary to view and inspect. The ID may not be viewed at a distance or through a window. The Notary should retain possession of the ID until the end of the signing, and then return it to the signer.
  • For jurats, the Notary must directly witness the signer sign the document in direct line of sight. This may be done through a window or doorway. Any required oaths or affirmations must be administered by the Notary to signer in direct line of sight and sound.
  • The Notary must complete all notarial certificates in direct line of sight of the signer through a window or doorway before leaving the signing.
  • The Notary must take reasonable steps to ensure the same documents handed to the signer are the same ones handed back to the Notary. The Notary should compare all signatures on notarized documents with the signatures made in the journal entries, and with the signature on the ID that the Notary has retained throughout the entire signing, to ensure the same person signed the documents.

Prior to meeting, signers will be asked questions about their recent travel and if they have had contact with any people diagnosed with the coronavirus.

If you are engaging one of our notaries public for a real estate closing, please let us know about any COVID-19 procedures you prescribe related to our service on your behalf. We expect enhanced precautions from contracting parties for as long as the COVID-19 crisis remains a threat to health and safety.

Your health and safety, as well as ours is our top priority and each notary act and real estate closing will need to be evaluated and handled on a case-by-case basis. As such, we will follow these additional guidelines:

  • Instead of handshakes, I verbally greet the signer with a smile.
  • I will ask that your ID be placed in a clear sandwich/snack bag before I inspect and hold for signing.
  • I will decline an assignment if I feel the environment would put me or the signer at risk in any way.
  • I keep masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes with me at all times and use them frequently.
  • I will leave a signing location if I see any warning signs after arriving on site.
  • If I leave an assignment without completing the signing, I will notify the law firm or other hiring body immediately and explain why.

We are here for you. If you have any questions related to this or our services, please contact us directly.

Carla Wessells, Notary Public
Serving Horry and Georgetown Counties
843-655-7190

Adopted from NNA Guidelines and Precautions.

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